from ein hod, i took the train to tel aviv and stayed in a hostel next to the sea, enjoying the luxury of doing my laundry, checking my email, and taking hot showers, all in the same place!!! I also frequented a lovely vegan diner, sat on the beach for hours, and got a new cell phone.
after a brief stop in Jerusalem (dahlia's house has become my home base), I traveled south on Thursday to mitzpah ramon, a small city in northern tip of the negev desert. it borders a giant canyon, called makhtesh ramon (for some reason, its translated as a crater, but its definitely concave). i stayed at the “desert eco-lodge”, a place just outside of town with little straw bale huts overlooking the canyon. It was utterly serene and silent, i think the quietest place i've ever been. the desert is very intense b/c the landscape is very beautiful and also very very still--nothing moves or appears to be living. i was so happy to move into my little straw bale hut, my first little home since the ulpan. there was little food to be found, especially on Shabbat, so Friday morning i bought some dried fruit and nuts, bread and hummus and chocolate, and lived off of that for the next few days. the "desert eco-lodge" where i stayed was right next to the desert sculpture garden, giant stoic rock sculptures that blended into the landscape. i took several hikes, trudging through the silent desert feeling tiny and insignificant, and spent the evenings reading in my little hut. the last night, i went to bed at 8 30, (having finished my book).
the desert was very intense and very beautiful, and i have to say that by the end of that intense solitude, i was starting to lose my mind a bit. (there were some other folks staying there, but the longest conversation that i had the whole time was maybe 3 minutes). All in all, I’m starting to feel worn down (and/or malnourished?). Travel on the weekends is always quite crazy; at least half of the bus passengers are soldiers, generally with their giant guns. you pretty much have to shove your way onto the bus in order to ensure a seat. there's no order of course, and the bus driver just lets the bus fill up to capacity, including standing room in the aisles. The solitary travel life is starting to wear on me and loneliness is moving in…..